NIAS Wednesday Discussion: "Mapping the history of Iron Age-Early Historical burials of South India" by Smriti Haricharan, Lecture Hall, NIAS, 1600 hrs

NIAS Wednesday Discussion



Topic:              “Mapping the history of Iron Age-Early Historical burials of South India”


Speaker:          Smriti Haricharan

                        Assistant Professor, Heritage Science and Society Program, NIAS



Chairperson:    Sumedha Bajar

                        Assistant Professor, NIAS-UNDP Policy Research Initiative on

                        Inequality and Human Development, NIAS



Date:               16th January 2019


Time:               4.00 PM


Venue:             Lecture Hall, NIAS


All are cordially invited


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Abstract: The Iron Age-Early Historic (IA-EH henceforth) burials of southern India are also referred to as megalithic burials. These burials can be dated from as early as 2000 BCE to as recent as 600CE and have fascinated archaeologists for over 200 years due to their visibility on the landscape, but questions regarding these burials remain as numerous. The nomenclature used to define these burials has always been an uncomfortable fit, from megalithic burials, to pandukal, to IA-EH to quote just a few. The terminology used to describe the burials themselves (e.g. dolmen or cist), much like the term megalithic was an introduction by the colonial archaeologists. Superficial similarities in external appearance of the burials found in south India and Europe make it easy to understand not only the terminology but also the initial temptation to connect the two burials systems to each other. This talk discusses the evolution of the terms used for these burials from the 19th century onwards; and further questions the relevance of understanding the historiography of this terminology. By tracing the origin and changes of the use of these terminologies for the IA-EH burials in southern India what exactly does this help us understand about the burials themselves? This paper was presented at the European Association of South Asian Archaeology in Italy along with Prof's. Kathleen Morrison and Mark Lycett, but the concept for which began as a part of the survey and excavation conducted from 2006-2009 at Siruthavoor, Tamilnadu.


About the speaker:  Smriti Haricharan is a part of the Heritage Science and Society program at NAIS. Before which she was a faculty at Shiv Nadar University, Delhi which she joined after a year at the University of Chicago on a Fulbright fellowship. One of her primary research focus since 2006 has been the Iron Age-Early Historic landscape of southern India, specifically Tamilnadu with special reference to the burials of that period, as a part of which she is interested in exploring philosophies of death as well as contemporary death rituals. She also looks at perceptions of the past and is invested in exploring ways of dissemination of archaeological methods to school children.


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For further info, please contact Anindya Sinha [ or] Coordinator of NIAS Wednesday Discussion Meetings.


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Wednesday, January 16, 2019